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About Us

Ron Hunter has owned and operated the business since 1972; at first we operated as a boat hire and bait sales boatshed. Ron, since he was a kid at Sydney’s beachside suburb Maroubra, (gee! now that is archival!) has always surfed and spearfished and snorkelled in the ocean waters. In 1982 he established the first dive centre in Forster, NSW Australia. Buying a compressor and basically indulging his passion for the ocean, Ron has now owned and operated one of the longest operating Dive Centres on the East Coast  

The dive centre rapidly overtook the boat and bait side of the business, and anyway it was a lot more exciting and fun. We bought our first commercial charter dive boat in 1985, so that we could share the superb diving and sites that we pioneered in the area in the early days. We are now on our fourth boat, each subsequent vessel an improvement over the previous one; and our boat of the last ten years the "Avanti" continues to be the best day dive charter on the East Coast of Australia.

Our Boat - The TSMV "Avanti"

  • Twin 315 horsepower Yanmar turbo diesel engines

  • Onboard Toilet

  • 4 exits and 2 boarding ladders

  • Large central tank & equipment rack

  • Comfortable & spacious seating

  • Fully covered rear deck

  • Spacious dry cabin including plenty of dry storage

  • Modern satellite navigation and depth sounding systems

  • Full compliment of regularly maintained safety equipment

  • Fully surveyed and licensed to operate commercially

  • Fast cruising speed at 21 knots

  • She has a capacity of 16 SCUBA Divers plus Crew, or 20 Dolphin Swimmers plus Crew.

Ron Hunter

Commerical Vessel Master (Coxswain Grade 1 NC)

PADI Divemaster

Ron is our fearless leader and owner of Dive Forster at Fisherman's Wharf. He has done around 10,000 dives since learning in 1980. He is, without a doubt, one of Forster's most experienced Skippers, and Divemasters. In fact, he probably knows our dive sites and local waterways better than anyone else!

He's also an avid world traveller, and as a part of this passion, he established our dedicated Adventure Travel Company - Quest Tours.

Ron's favourite dive site is The Pinnacle and his favourite marine creature is the Grey Nurse Shark.

Gear profile:

Gabby Hunter

Commercial Vessel Master (Coxswain Grade 1 NC)

Gabby is often seen at the helm of our Vessel, the "Avanti" and at the helm of our Dive Centre as it's manager. She attained her commercial vessel licence in 2014 and has since prepared over 300 cups of soup, tea and coffee for our lucky divers.

She's also a certified PADI Rescue Diver, and a Divemaster in Training. She's done over 600 dives since learning at the ripe old age of 14.

Gabby's favourite dive site is Latitude Rock (you can do 10 dives there and never do the same dive twice) and her favourite marine creature is the Loggerhead Turtle.

Gear profile:

Keith Morrison
PADI Divemaster

Keith became a PADI Divemaster in May, 2012, and has since done over 800 dives, most of which have been here in Forster and the incredible waters of the Great Lakes - Port Stephens Marine Park. Keith's favourite dive site is Latitude Rock, and his favourite marine creature is the Grey Nurse Shark.

You'll see Keith leading our dives very regularly - he loves showing people our magical underwater world.

Gear profile:

Felipe Hurtado

PADI Open Water SCUBA Instructor & EFR Instructor

Felipe has been our PADI Instructor since 2013 - his bubbly personality and endless professionalism has seen students return again and again after learning to dive, or continuing their diving education.

Gear profile:

 

Kyrstie Christian

Digital Producer & Dive Centre Manager

Kyrstie joined the crew mid 2017 and came in fresh and ready to learn! A PADI Open Water Diver and keen media editing pro, she is often seen at the back of the office, reviewing this years Humpback Whale footage. She also makes a mean coffee!

Gear Profile:

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Neil Bunting

PADI Divemaster

Neil has been one of faithful Divemasters for decades. He absolutely loves guiding dives.

His favourite dive site is The Grotto, at Big Seal Rock. His favourite marine creature is the Wobbegong Shark.

Gear profile:

  • Cressi Leonardo Dive Computer
  • Cressi Lontra 7mm Semi-Dry Wetsuit
  • Oceanic CDX-5 GT3 Regulator
  • Apollo Bio-lite Full Foot Fins

Laury Kilham

Dive Leader

Laury's calm and relaxed manner makes him an incredible asset to our team. He's come out of Diving retirement to do some part time guiding around our awesome sites here at Forster & down south at Seal Rocks. Back in the day, Laury was our skipper and Dive Instructor. While he prefers a more relaxed lifestyle now, he's still a very knowledagble and conscientious guide.

We are located on the corner of Memorial Drive & Little Street, Forster, NSW, 2428

We are a bright white boatshed diagonally opposite the Forster Main Street Post Office. There is a big shark on the front (and a few sharks circling inside the shop)!

Need help? Give us a call on (02) 6554 7478

^ Shark with large gaff hook and line, right jaw

^ Grey Nurse Shark who swallowed hook, trace and mono line - note the line hanging from gills on right side.

^ Grey Nurse Shark at Seal Rocks - hook, wire trace and sinker

Illegal fishing in the Marine Park Critical Habitat Zones still continues, despite rigorous policing by Dive Centres, Fisheries, and Marine Parks.

In the late 1980s we began to notice a decline in the population of the Grey Nurse Sharks that inhabit our area. Ron, together with Phil Bowman and the late Noel Hitchins fought a tireless campaign against the NSW government and its many bureaucrats to get the Grey Nurse Sharks’ plight recognised.

Finally after many years of effort, the Grey Nurse Sharks were declared "critically endangered" (one step away from extinction) and after another long campaign by the diving community for action by the NSW Government, they finally put into place protection zones at some of the declared critical habitat areas.

There is still, however, a long way to go to continue to preserve the Grey Nurse Shark population.

Grey nurse sharks have that classic shark biology that puts them so at risk:

  • they produce few offspring (roughly 1 pup every 2 years)
  • are slow to mature
  • late to reproduce

This means their populations take a long time to recover from historical depletions, and once populations have crashed, they need all the help they can get just to survive.